Bible Reading: Matthew 25:14-29, Luke 16:10-12
My mom has always loved crime thrillers and investigation shows. When I was growing up, she was a detective in her own making, and the crime scene was usually my site of freshly executed house chores.
When I was younger, she’d come look in the corners after I’d swept and say, “If those Crime Scene Investigation people come to this house, they will check alllll these places.”
Under the chairs, behind the cupboard and yes–especially behind the fridge. (If you know, you know).
I knew no detective was coming (as I did not kill anybody), so I’d have those cheat days to clean a little less intensely–and sometimes those were the days I was caught. Like when we’d be watching a movie in the living room, then the light goes off. And suddenly she’s pointing her flashlight at the TV stand or a glass table. ‘I thought you said you cleaned this place this morning.’ All my dusty sins now stand clear and evident under the glare of her searchlight.
I think money is like that; a searchlight pressed to the unseen things of our soul. From our desires, passions, impulses, values, beliefs, dreams–our spending gives a visible expression to who we really are down inside.
In our reading today, Jesus tells a parable of a servant entrusted with money who had it wrong at the heart level and eventually translated it to the affairs of his hands.
See, ““Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ “Matthew 25:24-25 (CEB) (emphasis added)
Stewardship is first a conversation we must seek to get right at the heart level because it will eventually reflect in our expression. Like when you’ve had a transaction occur but you’re worked up because it’s not reflecting
on your account yet. Give it time.
A wrong perspective will position us to risk missing out entirely on the process God invites us to, just like the one-talent servant in our reading today.
So what are some heart checks we need to anchor on to ensure we are good stewards of the money God has placed in our hands?
1. God is our Source
A good steward is first one who recognises God as the Source, and Money as a resource.
Psalms 24:1 (CEV) reveals to us, “The earth and everything on it, including its people, belong to the LORD.”
When we lack this awareness, Idolatry or a dysfunctional use of money ensues. Read carefully this verse:
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].” Matthew 6:24 (AMP)
Jesus said it no better when He asked this of us,
“But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and
all these things will be given to you also.” Matthew 6:33 AMP (emphasis added)
It’s beyond coming to God and expecting money as a reward for seeking Him. Let’s not cheapen the weight of the conversation. It’s a call to recognise that in God, all our needs are met. He is our source. God is our Sustainer, not just our Provider: He doesn’t just provide for us, God gives us the wisdom to be faithful and manage what He provides. For every expectation of stewardship He has over us, His grace empowers us for it from moment to moment. And if you ever need a reminder, here’s a verse to keep you anchored,
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13 [NLT]
God has entrusted us: Listen to what Paul says about this,
“For what gives you the right to make such a
judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?” 1Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)
The heart of stewardship is to recognise that everything placed in our hands is a trust.
And because God has entrusted us, there is an expectation about that ‘trust’.
2. God expects us to be generous and give:
Hebrews 13:16 MSG says, “Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of ‘sacrifice’—that take place in kitchen and
workplace and on the streets.”
The heart of a steward is also reflected in hands that give back to God. Not because God lacks. Remember, the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalm 24:1). We give as a statement of honour. We give as a statement of trust in the One who has entrusted us.
Because our money is a tangible expression of our heart conversations, here’s a soul check for you. Track your debit alerts, your impulse buys. They reveal what cause you believe in, those you honour and what you worship.
Ensure you have structures in place to honour God in your giving, and be prudent with your spending.
Finally, stay aware of the truth that God has already provided the wisdom you need to be a good steward.
Something to Pray
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Titus 2:11-14 (KJV)
Pray that the grace of God would teach you to have the right heart posture, to be diligent and faithful with the money He’s placed in your hands.
Eme volunteers with the Bible Engagement team at Sycamore